Archive for September, 2007

TGRWT #6: Applecake (with too little lavender)

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

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In the last minutes of the TGRWT #6 I decided to make a simple apple cake and add some lavender. The cake was nice, but I could clearly have used much more lavender. This makes me curious about what experiences the rest of you have made combining apple and lavender.

Apple cake (with too little lavender)
100 g butter
170 g sugar
rind of 1/2 lemon
4 eggs (~210 g)
275 g flour
1 t baking powder
1 dL milk (or cream)
ca. 20 lavender leaves
3-4 apples, thinly sliced
3-4 t sugar

Mix butter and sugar. Add eggs and lemon rind. Mix flour and baking powder and add to the rest. Stir in milk and add lavender. I used leaves for the batter and ca. 15 to decorate the top. Pour batter into greased pan. Insert apple slices. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 175 °C for 45-55 min until golden. Cool. Serve with whipped cream.

Molecular gastronomy mailing list

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

It’s a while since the mailing list that was set up at moleculargastronomy.org [link to web.archive.org] went down due to a server failure. This list was set up after the Erice meeting in 2004, but there was not much activity there the last couple of months. However, at the EuroFoodChem conference in Paris several people asked about the list. So now Jack Lang has set up a new list. To subscribe, simply send an email to molecular-gastronomy-subscribe_(a)_googlegroups.com (replacing _(a)_ with @).

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Finally in English: Kitchen mysteries

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

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Following the success of the English translation of Molecular gastronomy – Exploring the Science of Flavor (original title: Casseroles et éprouvettes), Hervé This book Kitchen mysteries (original title: Les secrets de la casserole) will appear in October 2007, and is already available for pre-order. As far as I know this book has already appeared in German as Rí¤tsel der Kochkunst (and I guess in Spanish with the title La Cocina y Sus Misterios). As you can see from the list of foreign language books on molecular gastronomy, there’s still a whole number of books to be translated. Exciting times to come!

TGRWT #6: Apple and lavender

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

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TGRWT #6 is hosted by Inge over at Vanielje Kitchen (which BTW features a separate blog with recipes only). Deadline is October 1st and the foods to pair this time are apple and lavender. For other details – check out her post. In case you haven’t done so yet, check out Amrita’s excellent round-up of TGRWT #5 which was on chocolate and meat.

Unfortunately I don’t have any odour activity values for the apple/lavender combo, but a search at The Good Scents Company suggests there are several compounds which are found in or used with the two.

Clarification of stock and other liquids

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

In a comment to the last post, Chad asked how the clarification with laboratory glass ware works. Here’s how. Basically it’s a filtration. But if you would use a normal filter paper (such as a coffee filter) and let gravity pull the liquid through the filter, it would take ages. By applying a vacuum to the back side of the filter, the stock is sucked through (or pushed if you like by the atmospheric pressure). The are several possible sources of vacuum. The simplest and cheapest is a water aspirator or a handpump. More expensive solutions include a membrane pump or an oil pump. The particles you want to remove are from 0.0001 mm and upwards to > 1 mm. The best thing would be to first pass the stock through a cheese cloth or a muslin, followed by one or more filtrations using filter paper. This would gradually yield a perfectly clear solution. Pictures of a Bí¼chner funnel, Erlenmeyer flask and a water aspirator can be found on the tools page of Khymos. Pictures of a complete setup can be found by googling. If doing this in a kitchen, you would want to have an Erlenmeyer flask of at least 2-3 L as this is where the clearified stock is collected. The Bí¼chner funnel should preferably have a diameter of 12 cm or more.

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The fascinating thing about a filtration like this is that you can also remove color. At the EuroFoodChem XIV conference I was told by Jorge Ruiz of Lamaragaritaseagita that you can make perfectly clear tomato juice by succesive filtrations, starting with a coarse filter and moving to finer filters. All in all, 3-5 filtrations should be sufficient.

Molecular gastronomy at EuroFoodChem XIV

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

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The conference venue was right next to the Eiffel tower

I’ve just returned from the conference Euro Food Chem XIV which took place in Paris from August 29th to 31st 2007. One of the topics was “Molecular Gastronomy: objectives, development, international collaboration”, which as you might have guessed, was the reason I went there. There were several oral presentations and a whole number of poster presentations of interest to molecular gastronomists. It was great meeting again people who attended the 2004 Erice meeting. I also had the pleasure of interacting with several of Hervé This’ former and present students who share the same enthusiasm for molecular gastronomy and the application of scientific thinking to home cooking.

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Hervé This and myself at the conference dinner (Photo by Daniel Kalnin)

Molecular gastronomy was only one of four topics at the conference, but fortunately Hervé This had arranged a special “Chefs meet scientists” session on the second day of the conference which attracted a large number of people in addition to those attending the EuroFoodChem conference.

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The auditorium was packed for the “Chefs meet scientists” session

Following an introduction by Hervé This, there were presentations of molecular gastronomy activities in France, Spain and Portugal. These activities are directed towards both chefs and the general public. Representatives from Air liquide, a manufacturer of liquid nitrogen, had a presentation of various uses of liquid nitrogen for “cooking” purposes, followed by shorter presentations of tools, techniques and ingredients. The molecular gastronomy blogging community was well represented, and I was delighted to meet the people behind Food for design (Bernard Lahousse from Belgium), Jocooking (Joana Moura from Portugal) and Lamargueritaseagita (Jorge Ruiz Carracal from Spain) – their blogs are hereby recommended!

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Hervé This fills in on Joana Moura’s presentation

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Representatives from Air liquide demonstrating liquid nitrogen applications. In the picture a stainless steel disk has been cooled and is then used as an “inverted griddle”

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Anne Cazor from Cuisine Innovation explains clarification of stock using traditional organic chemistry glass ware

All in all the conference and in particular the “Cheefs meet scientists” session and talking to people was truly inspiring and an excellent opportunity for me to catch up on what is moving in molecular gastronomy these days!